Sunday, 16 June 2019


I've just started using Borrow Box from my library, and I'm in love. Borrow Box is an app that you use via your library to borrow eaudiobooks and ebooks. The app is super easy to use. Once was the first audiobook I listened to with Borrow Box. It was such a fab reading experience. I listened to most of it on a train trip, some whilst out walking the dogs, some driving the car to work. All so easy.

At this stage I'm only planning to use it for audiobooks (because I'm using it on my phone and I don't really like ebooks so much, especially reading phone size ebooks). I can borrow four audiobooks at a time (and four ebooks if I choose to), which is enough to keep me out of trouble I guess, although there are so many there that I want to inhale.

I'd been meaning to read Once for some time. It's a very well known book, and I've had a copy sitting about the house in the TBR for quite a while. Although I didn't know all that much about it. I knew that it was about a boy called Felix and set during the Second World War, but not really much more than that.

Felix is a nine year old boy living in a remote Polish orphanage in 1942. Although he isn't an orphan, or he wasn't when his parents left him there three years and eight months ago. As you might expect things are rather grim in a Polish orphanage during the war- watery soup, shared baths and bullying amongst the kids. But things change enormously for Felix when he leaves the orphanage one day to return home to find his parents.

Of course Felix's Jewish bookseller parents are no longer keeping their small town shop. They have been displaced by a Polish family, and Felix starts a larger quest to find them. We visit the Warsaw Ghetto, and witness so much brutality (and some kindness) at the hands of Nazi soldiers. I may have cried at times. It's hard not to.

As an adult reader it is impossible not to be aware of what Poland 1942 means as a setting. I guess as a child you would have less of an awareness, and less of an understanding of the historical and political context. When groups of people are being marched down a road or pushed onto a train you know where they are going. Felix doesn't.

Morris Gleitzman is such a prolific Australian author, who is just taking on his role as our fifth Australian Children's Laureate. I've seen him speak quite a few times. I've read a few of his books. Loyal Creatures, which I loved (see my review), and Two Weeks With the Queen, which I don't remember loving so much.

Once was tremendously successful and popular and has now grown into a series of six books. Once. Then. Now. Soon. After. Maybe. I'm planning on listening to all of them. Indeed I have Then all downloaded and ready to go next.


Brona said...

Make sure you pack the tissues for Then!

Louise said...

I actually have listened to Then (now, that's confusing isn't it??). I found this post almost finished from a year ago, and decided to publish it. I only got two books through the series last year. I'm sure I could pick it up again pretty easily though.

I'm Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

We have something here called Hoopla that I've recently discovered. It has almost all the books I'm trying to read for the Classics Club either in audiobook or ebook form. I mostly use it for audios.